How Mississippian Disappointed
Prove "Fire Eater"
"Wild Man From the South" Hasn't Indulged in Any Vaudeville.
(By J. Fred Essary.)
Washington, April 4.-When Mississippi, following one of the bitterest
campaigns in the turbulent political history of that State,
voted to send
James K. Vardaman to the United States senate there was much shaking of
Admirers in Washington and elsewhere of
a commonwealth which had produced Jefferson Davis, a L. Q. C. Lamar,
a Sergeant S. Prentiss, an Anselm J. McLaurin and a John
Sharp Williams, deplored the decay into which this Southern constituency had
fallen. They began to wonder sadly what the world was coming to after
And this wonder had been encouraged by the fact that
Arkansas had previously sent Jeff Davis to the same body; the fact
that South Carolina had elected Cole L. Blease governor, and that Texas
had repudiated Joseph W. Bailey. Verily the "state of the union" was
wretched! How could the republic endure?
This was undoubtedly the feeling on the part of the supersensitive.
read of Vardaman's eccentricities in many newspapers. He had fought duels.
He had eaten fire before the startled eyes of the populace. He had
defended lynching and had pardoned lynchers - if the lynchees happened to
be blachmen. He had burned barns. Had preached treason and practiced
And lastly, he wore his hair long.
Picture of Political Foes.
These are some of the crimes on the Vardaman
calendar, according to the popular notion. This was the type of man that
ancient and honorable Mississippi had sent to Washington to legislate for
her and the rest of the country. This was the picture at had been painted
by the political enemies of the new senator and reproduced by other
artists outside the State.
Then came Vardaman to the capitol. He
walked into the senate chamber quietly and was ushered to the vice
president's desk where he executed the oath
Afterward he calmly took his seat on the rear row and settled himself
there to watch the proceedings. No earthquake accompanied this ceremony.
Nothing volcanic occurred to affright the nation. No upheaval followed. No
trembling colleagues rushed into the open. No vibrations disturbed the
goddess of freedom on the dome.
Very Tame Affair.
It was all a
very tame affair. And Vardaman has been very tame , as a spectable, ever
since. The "'wild man from the South" has produced no shocks. The
"nigger hater" has created no scenes.
He has stampeded nobody. He has
scared nobody. He has violated no established rules. He has chaffed under
no restraints. He has indulged in no vaudeville
On the contrary, the new senator from
Mississippi maintained a most dignified mein. He has fitted himself
perfectly into the order of the body,
He has come and gone about his work
with the same ease and grace that might have distinguished a Lodge, or a
Root or a Bacon.
He has delivered no harrowing speeches. He has sought no
times Vardaman has addressed the senate. And on each of these occasions he
spoke with great deliberation and telling results. He has convictions of a
most pronounced type; it is true, and these convictions he fearlessly
expounds. But he does not run away with himself. He has not been given to
page since he
came to Washington.
Opposes Negro in Politics.
First and foremost among the Vardaman tenets is his opposition to the
negro in politics. He believes that the fourteenth and fifteenth
amendments to the constitution were crimes against civilization. He
believes that they have done more damage to the negro race than to the
white race. And he does not believe that either amendment was legally
ratified. Therefore, when Vardaman expresses himself in this connection he
does it with force, but he has exhibited none of the violence or virulence
which his enemies promised when he was elected.
Even so, Senator Vardaman is
one of our leading ornaments. This is not because of his long hair or
handsome face. His dress is the thing. In the winter he wears a senatorial
frock that would do credit to any stage makeup. This if topped by a
wonderfully broad brimmed black hat. In summer he appears invariably in
white flannel, white shoes and great white felt hat. He is always good to
A perusal of the
Congressional Record demonstrates conclusively that Senator Vardaman is
keenly alive to everything that is going on in his neighborhood. He is
mixing more and more in the senatorial debates and with credit to himself
and his constituency.
A bill was before the senate last
week to increase the salary of a certain bureau employe Mr. Vardaman took
the position that if the employe had made the salary increase a condition
precedent, he would not vote for the man; it should be fixed for the
office. and let all men who come to the office enjoy the same
compensation. Said the senator from Mississippi:
"If you do not do that, I repeat, you
will set a precedent which will vex you continuously in the future because
every time a man is appointed to a place if he is a man of especial worth
some senator will come into the senate or some member will come into the
house and propose a bill to
increase the salary of that office while the extraordinary Mr. Jones or
Mr. Smith may occupy it. The policy will be pernicious and the system
intolerable. It will not do, and I warn the senate
"Mr. Brady. I know that the senator from
Mississippi is very much in earnest in advocating the line of action
suggested in his address; but I want to ask him if he does not believe
that when we find a public servant who is efficient and
"Mr. Vardaman. He could not be efficient without
being honest. There is no permanent success or enduring efficiency without
good judgment, guided by honesty and a high sense of
The last three lines deserve to be remembered. They
prescribe an excellent standard in measuring the merits of public